TOURISM officials are in in discussions with Channel News Asia to run an advertising campaign currently showing on CNN, as the current spots are expected to push tourist arrivals to an estimated 2.2 million visitors by the end of the year, officials said last week.
Visitors had already topped 1.5 million in September - up 10 percent over the same period last year.
Minister of Tourism Thong Khon said the new branding campaign, which includes advertisements under the "Cambodia: Kingdom of Wonder" slogan on CNN, should be an additional boost.
"We expect even more international tourists to come to Cambodia in 2009," he said.
The Ministry of Tourism signed a six-month contract with CNN to air the advertising spot some 600 times, Thong Khon said, adding that a similar deal is being discussed with Channel News Asia to run the ad spot beginning this month.
The branding campaign was designed to highlight Cambodian history, from the ancient temples of Angkor Wat to Khmer hospitality and a newfound political and economic stability, he said.
"We think some tourists have never known Cambodia's tourism potential and have been largely uninterested in our country," Thong Khon said.
"We hope to change this and appeal to a larger audience, particularly with major events such as this year's Johnnie Walker Cambodian Open golf tournament in Siem Reap in December."
The ministry spent less than US$1 million on the branding campaign, Thong Khon said, but he would not confirm the exact amount.
The president of the Cambodian Association of Travel Agents, Ho Vandy, told the Post Sunday that the advertising strategy was important for bolstering the sector, especially in light of the global financial crisis and political instability in Bangkok, which might dampen growth.
"I think Cambodia will attract even more visitors once global financial markets settle and tensions in Bangkok ease," Ho Vandy said.
He added that any tourism campaign required cooperation from the private sector and said ministry officials would meet in the coming week with tourism firms to discuss new strategies aimed at getting more visitors to the Kingdom.
But Moeung Sonn, managing director of Eurasie Travel Cambodia, said Cambodia would need to wait until the financial crisis ebbs before significant tourism gains are seen.